Red Hat Expanding to Corporate Desktop

Open-source technology provider will release a formal desktop Linux product geared toward the corporate market early next year.

SAN FRANCISCO—Red Hat Inc. is looking to expand its general retail Linux and enterprise server software offerings and so will release a formal desktop Linux product geared toward the corporate market early next year.

Mark De Visser, a vice president at the Raleigh, N.C., open-source technology provider, told eWEEK Tuesday that Red Hat is "working on a special desktop product offering for the corporate market. There is now a place, as well as demand, for this."

"So, early next year we will be releasing a product that will be a corporate desktop and which will have enterprise qualities that allow it to be widely deployed," he said.

Red Hat has already received broad customer interest for large deployments of the corporate desktop, to tens of thousands of machines, but the company declined to give specific examples.

The corporate desktop product will be an extension of the "holistic platform" Red Hat currently provides the enterprise. While acknowledging that Red Hat has to date not been viewed as a desktop player, De Visser said that a year ago it had also not been seen as a player in the corporate infrastructure, which it now is.

Red Hat already has an Advanced Server platform, and there are development types looking for workstations to target that. "So, at some point we will have a corporate desktop that is synchronized with that Advanced Server platform and will run in step in terms of release cycles and wont have the high-release frequency that the retail product has," he said.

It will also be attractive to software application developers as they would essentially be developing for the Advanced Server platform. It would then also become the more stable platform that corporations could use to run their office productivity applications, De Visser said.

"Red Hat offers far more than just a midrange server solution. Our platform works at the edge of the network, inside the network, and is moving further into the data center," he said.

Red Hat is a member of the Open Source Development Labs Data Center Linux Working Group, the formation of which will be announced today at LinuxWorld. The groups initial focus will be on the financial services industry, sources said.

The working group will also announce today the publication of the Data Center Linux Technical Scope White Paper, which identifies the scope of the groups effort, including the target application areas, technical issues and standards compliance.

In addition, it will release the Data Center Linux Requirements Definition V0.5, an evolving document that defines the initiative and platform requirements as well as prioritized features and goals, the sources said.